February Student Profile : Vik Suagh

Monday, February 29, 2016

Vik Suagh made his wayVik with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program at Conrad Grebel University College to further pursue his interest in conflict resolution and peace studies. Before arriving at the University of Waterloo, Vik completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, where he majored in Political Science and minored in Anthropology and History of Religions. Prior to attending university, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2007 and has been serving in the military ever since. He currently works in the field of civil-military cooperation and has a strong interest in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Vik believed that pursuing an MPACS degree would be a great way to expand his experience and further his academic studies for his future. MPACS is the ideal program for Vik as it combines many of his interests and enhances his understanding of conflict and peace in new and challenging ways.

MPACS students have the opportunity to pursue an internship as a way to prepare themselves for careers as peace practitioners. Vik was selected to work as an intern with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction in Bangkok, Thailand. This United Nations organization is the focal point for strengthening disaster resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. While on his internship, Vik was engaged in a wide range of tasks and projects which allowed him to travel to several countries, including: Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Throughout his internship, he worked on the development of reports, conducted research, carried out data analysis and participated in many seminars, workshops and conferences.

I learned a lot on my internship because most of what I have been previously exposed to has been at the ground level. The work I was doing with the UN was policy-related at national, regional and global levels. MPACS helped increase my understanding of constructive collaboration, working with different organizations across multiple sectors to achieve shared goals.

One of the most valuable aspects of taking MPACS courses was that it deepened Vik’s understanding of conflict – looking at the different perspectives and motivations among various actoVik at a conference in New Delhirs. Two courses in particular that prepared Vik for his internship were PACS 603 Building Civil Society and PACS 602 Practice of Peace. They increased his knowledge of multi-stakeholder collaboration, and further developed the skills necessary to analyze data and process it into viable and useful information.

Vik would say that one of the most valuable aspects of studying in MPACS is that:

It’s a program that incorporates a variety of interdisciplinary practices, which provides a rich and unique approach towards peace and conflict. It’s essential for all of these disciplines to be considered for sustainable peacebuilding initiatives to succeed. As an MPACS student, if you have a specific area of interest, it is easy for you to hone in on it and shape your learning along that avenue.

For more information about MPACS Internships visit the MPACS website